Brookline makes face coverings mandatory for all while in public

Face coverings have been recommended by the CDC to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Massachusetts residents are now mandated to wear a face covering in public.
A day boasting sunshine brought out mask-wearing visitors to the Boston Public Garden. –Barry Chin / The Boston Globe

Anyone caught without a face covering while out in Brookline could be slapped with a $50 fine.

An order from town officials requiring everyone to wear a face covering takes effect on Friday, and failure to comply means the health department could issue the penalty.

“This is a public health measure that I believe will be effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Swannie Jett, the town’s director of health and human services, said in a statement. “A face covering can be made out of any number of items or materials that residents can find right in their homes, such as a bandanna or scarf, so the transition to wearing face coverings should be seamless.”

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However, a town police spokesperson confirmed Thursday that they are not enforcing the order, so it’s unclear how exactly the fine would be administered.

Other cities and towns in Massachusetts have recommended people wear face coverings when in public. Boston and Cambridge are among them, but they have not made them mandatory.

In a news release from April 9, Cambridge officials “strongly” recommended that people wear a face covering when not at home.

“Face coverings should be worn as a tool to help reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis DePasquale said in a statement. “While face coverings may provide some help in slowing virus transmission between people interacting in proximity with one another, they do not provide guaranteed protection. Wearing a face mask is not a substitute for other precautionary measures.”

The push for face coverings by local officials comes as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation to wear them while in public.


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